9:53 pm - Monday July 16, 2018

The Treasure in Forest-by H G Wells-Novel and Ebooks

Novel Name: The Tressure in Forest

Written by:H G Wells

Category:Children, fiction, short novel, Classics

Page 1:

The canoe was now approaching the land. The bay opened out, and a gap in
the white surf of the reef marked where the little river ran out to the
sea; the thicker and deeper green of the virgin forest showed its course
down the distant hill slope. The forest here came close to the beach. Far
beyond, dim and almost cloudlike in texture, rose the mountains, like
suddenly frozen waves. The sea was still save for an almost imperceptible
swell. The sky blazed.

The man with the carved paddle stopped. “It should be somewhere here,” he
said. He shipped the paddle and held his arms out straight before him.

The other man had been in the fore part of the canoe, closely scrutinising
the land. He had a sheet of yellow paper on his knee.

“Come and look at this, Evans,” he said.

Both men spoke in low tones, and their lips were hard and dry.

The man called Evans came swaying along the canoe until he could look over
his companion’s shoulder.

The paper had the appearance of a rough map. By much folding it was
creased and worn to the pitch of separation, and the second man held the
discoloured fragments together where they had parted. On it one could
dimly make out, in almost obliterated pencil, the outline of the bay.

“Here,” said Evans, “is the reef, and here is the gap.” He ran his
thumb-nail over the chart.

“This curved and twisting line is the river–I could do with a drink
now!–and this star is the place.”

“You see this dotted line,” said the man with the map; “it is a straight
line, and runs from the opening of the reef to a clump of palm-trees. The
star comes just where it cuts the river. We must mark the place as we go
into the lagoon.”

“It’s queer,” said Evans, after a pause, “what these little marks down
here are for. It looks like the plan of a house or something; but what all
these little dashes, pointing this way and that, may mean I can’t get a
notion. And what’s the writing?”

“Chinese,” said the man with the map.

“Of course! _He_ was a Chinee,” said Evans.

“They all were,” said the man with the map.

They both sat for some minutes staring at the land, while the canoe
drifted slowly. Then Evans looked towards the paddle.

“Your turn with the paddle now, Hooker,” said he.

And his companion quietly folded up his map, put it in his pocket, passed
Evans carefully, and began to paddle. His movements were languid, like
those of a man whose strength was nearly exhausted.

Evans sat with his eyes half closed, watching the frothy breakwater of the
coral creep nearer and nearer. The sky was like a furnace, for the sun was
near the zenith. Though they were so near the Treasure he did not feel the
exaltation he had anticipated. The intense excitement of the struggle for
the plan, and the long night voyage from the mainland in the unprovisioned
canoe had, to use his own expression, “taken it out of him.” He tried to
arouse himself by directing his mind to the ingots the Chinamen had spoken
of, but it would not rest there; it came back headlong to the thought of
sweet water rippling in the river, and to the almost unendurable dryness
of his lips and throat. The rhythmic wash of the sea upon the reef was
becoming audible now, and it had a pleasant sound in his ears; the water
washed along the side of the canoe, and the paddle dripped between each
stroke. Presently he began to doze.

He was still dimly conscious of the island, but a queer dream texture
interwove with his sensations. Once again it was the night when he and
Hooker had hit upon the Chinamen’s secret; he saw the moonlit trees, the
little fire burning, and the black figures of the three Chinamen–silvered
on one side by moonlight, and on the other glowing from the firelight–and
heard them talking together in pigeon-English–for they came from
different provinces. Hooker had caught the drift of their talk first, and
had motioned to him to listen. Fragments of the conversation were
inaudible, and fragments incomprehensible. A Spanish galleon from the
Philippines hopelessly aground, and its treasure buried against the day of
return, lay in the background of the story; a shipwrecked crew thinned by
disease, a quarrel or so, and the needs of discipline, and at last taking
to their boats never to be heard of again. Then Chang-hi, only a year
since, wandering ashore, had happened upon the ingots hidden for two
hundred years, had deserted his junk, and reburied them with infinite
toil, single-handed but very safe. He laid great stress on the safety–it
was a secret of his. Now he wanted help to return and exhume them.
Presently the little map fluttered and the voices sank. A fine story for
two, stranded British wastrels to hear! Evans’ dream shifted to the moment
when he had Chang-hi’s pigtail in his hand. The life of a Chinaman is
scarcely sacred like a European’s. The cunning little face of Chang-hi,
first keen and furious like a startled snake, and then fearful,
treacherous, and pitiful, became overwhelmingly prominent in the dream. At
the end Chang-hi had grinned, a most incomprehensible and startling grin.
Abruptly things became very unpleasant, as they will do at times in
dreams. Chang-hi gibbered and threatened him. He saw in his dream heaps
and heaps of gold, and Chang-hi intervening and struggling to hold him
back from it. He took Chang-hi by the pig-tail–how big the yellow brute
was, and how he struggled and grinned! He kept growing bigger, too. Then
the bright heaps of gold turned to a roaring furnace, and a vast devil,
surprisingly like Chang-hi, but with a huge black tail, began to feed him
with coals. They burnt his mouth horribly. Another devil was shouting his
name: “Evans, Evans, you sleepy fool!”–or was it Hooker?

He woke up. They were in the mouth of the lagoon.

“There are the three palm-trees. It must be in a line with that clump of
bushes,” said his companion. “Mark that. If we, go to those bushes and
then strike into the bush in a straight line from here, we shall come to
it when we come to the stream.”

They could see now where the mouth of the stream opened out. At the sight
of it Evans revived. “Hurry up, man,” he said, “or by heaven I shall have
to drink sea water!” He gnawed his hand and stared at the gleam of silver
among the rocks and green tangle.

Presently he turned almost fiercely upon Hooker. “Give _me_ the
paddle,” he said.

So they reached the river mouth. A little way up Hooker took some water in
the hollow of his hand, tasted it, and spat it out. A little further he
tried again. “This will do,” he said, and they began drinking eagerly.

“Curse this!” said Evans suddenly. “It’s too slow.” And, leaning
dangerously over the fore part of the canoe, he began to suck up the water
with his lips.

Presently they made an end of drinking, and, running the canoe into a
little creek, were about to land among the thick growth that overhung the
water.

“We shall have to scramble through this to the beach to find our bushes
and get the line to the place,” said Evans.

“We had better paddle round,” said Hooker.

So they pushed out again into the river and paddled back down it to the
sea, and along the shore to the place where the clump of bushes grew. Here
they landed, pulled the light canoe far up the beach, and then went up
towards the edge of the jungle until they could see the opening of the
reef and the bushes in a straight line. Evans had taken a native implement
out of the canoe. It was L-shaped, and the transverse piece was armed with
polished stone. Hooker carried the paddle. “It is straight now in this
direction,” said he; “we must push through this till we strike the stream.
Then we must prospect.”

They pushed through a close tangle of reeds, broad fronds, and young
trees, and at first it was toilsome going, but very speedily the trees
became larger and the ground beneath them opened out. The blaze of the
sunlight was replaced by insensible degrees by cool shadow. The trees
became at last vast pillars that rose up to a canopy of greenery far
overhead. Dim white flowers hung from their stems, and ropy creepers swung
from tree to tree. The shadow deepened. On the ground, blotched fungi and
a red-brown incrustation became frequent.

Filed in: Children, Classics, Short Novel, Short Stories

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